News Bits: Netbooks In The News, Vista SP2, and Windows 7 Goes Easy On Graphics

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Top five vendors to ship 125+ million notebooks next year

According to a DigiTimes report, the top five notebook vendors including HP, Acer, Dell, Toshiba, and ASUS will ship more than 125 million notebooks next year. ASUS outpaced Lenovo and took the number five spot in the third quarter of this year.

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Eee PC 1002HA preorder available

The ASUS Eee PC 1002HA is now available for preorder from several sites. It weighs 2.6 pounds and has a 10-inch screen. ASUS claims the notebook has “up to 4 hours” of battery life from the included two-cell battery (yes, only two cells). The 1002HA replaces the 1000H in the Eee PC lineup. Current pricing is a shade under $500.

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Windows Vista SP2 beta now available

Microsoft this week is opening up the beta for Windows Vista/Server 2008 Service Pack 2 to MSDN and TechNet subscribers. And starting on Thursday, December 4, it will be available to everyone through the Customer Preview Program (CPP), launched via TechNet.

Windows Vista SP2 will include all of the updates released since SP1 and other improvements. It also adds support for new hardware standards.

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GPU not necessary for DirectX acceleration in Windows 7

Windows 7 may feature a software component called WARP10 (Windows Advanced Rasterization Platform 10), which will allow DirectX acceleration to be done on the CPU. This means users without a dedicated graphics card, especially notebook owners, will be able to take advantage of DirectX technology. However, the benefits are limited. Gamers will obviously not want to look towards this solution – a Core i7 running Crysis through WARP10 was only able to muster 7 frames per second on low settings. This is better than Intel’s integrated graphics, but still far from ideal.

WARP10 will make system requirements for Windows 7 simpler, since a system will not need a GPU to be “Windows 7 Capable”. Other than that, WARP10 is more of an experiment than anything.

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